Monday, September 14, 2015

Listen to the pros -- behind the scenes in art land

 Untitled (work in progress)
acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
I wish I could confidently show you my finished
painting of the lobster burger I had in Nova
Scotia looking out at the Wallace River.  But
it's taking me a long time to paint.  In fact it's
arduous.  Not painful.  But time consuming in
the extreme. 

In my frequent breaks I soak in the advice of the
pros.  The queen of tinfoil -- which is what is slowing
me down in this small painting -- is Canadian artist,
Mary Pratt.  Actually Mary Pratt is known for
taking the everyday -- jars of jam, bowls of fruit, tinfoil --
and making it glorious. She is the most famous Canadian high
realist.  And in an interview, she said that she
estimated at one point in her career that it would take
her six months to do a painting.
Sketch of a bouquet from the Brickworks market
Watercolour crayon, and black marker on paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
I just got back from New York, and in the magnificent
Sargent exhibition at the Met, I read that for one painting
 he required 83 sittings!   Okay -- why is time such an
issue for us as painters now?

It's this -- it's the blog -- waiting like a dog that
needs a walk, for evidence that the artist is still
in the building.  I am.
Self portrait sketch
black marker on Moleskine paper
8 x 10 inches 
Barbara Muir © 2015
I also read a timely post by Danny Gregory about
getting out of practice called Mortified. He inspired
me to take another crack at sketching.  And keep
working and working, even when life is as jam
packed as mine has been lately.  So here
are some sketches, and a peak at my work so far.

Have a getting-to-work day.


Liza Hirst said...

Hi Barbara, how nice that you got to go to New York again. I saw the Sargent exhibiton here in London and of course I loved it!
Thanks for reminding me of always trying to do at least some sketches if painting isn't possible in daily life! I will read the post 'Mortified' and try my best. As always I LOVE your sketch! Good luck with the lobster burger - looking forward to seeing the finished painting. Take care, my friend, Liza

Melinda said...

I'm glad you keep painting! It is very interesting that previous painters were willing to really, really take their time. Some paintings beg for time.

Looking forward to seeing this painting finished. But, take your time!

Pam Holnback said...

I'm always telling myself to do more sketching!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Wasn't the Sargent exhibition amazing.
I miss your blog so much. Danny Gregory is
really an awesome proponent for sketching.
The lobster burger is sort of background music
to the larger work I'm also working on.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

It is interesting isn't it. Yes tinfoil begs for time, whether
it deserves it or not.

I photographed the painting two days in a row after working on
it for hours, and could hardly see the difference. :-)


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Pam,

Your paintings are beautiful. And you are doing so much
work. You'll sketch whenever you want to.


verna said...

Interesting post Barbara! I've got the Mary Pratt interview set up to play in my studio while working today. Wanting to connect briefly with you before I immerse myself in the studio.

Your comment about "it's the blog" giving you that perspective on time, that you must have something to show every few days:

Sometimes I don't make a blog post for a few weeks. This requires a kind of discipline too, to avoid just throwing something up there. But it also makes me feel like I should be doing more! *laughs* So it's nice to read your thoughts in a similar vein.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Verna,

The saddest thing for me about the Mary Pratt interview was
hearing that she's frightened all the time, because of
the way the world is going. Yet there is this almost
overwhelming force of joy coming through her work.

And I love that. I dislike the idea that joyful,
warm, celebratory work is superficial, that we all
have to express depth and pain to be "real" artists.
We each have to do our thing. From what I see there's more
scope for variety now, than there was when she
suffered so much criticism from art critics.
Love your work!


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!